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The Withdrawal Method [Hardcover]

Pasha Malla
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 2008

Winner of the Trillium Award

Pasha Malla's extraordinary stories grant us entry into fascinating worlds: the complex world of children acting out half-understood fantasies of adulthood; the modern world of young couples navigating hairpin emotional turns; a near future world where Niagara Falls has run dry.

The Withdrawal Method is a remarkably inventive, assured, and smart collection from one of our best young writers, one who pairs emotional depth with great technical skill. These extraordinary stories peel back layers to reveal the strange, the wondrous, the unexpected.


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Review

...[The Withdrawal Method is] an astonishing and bizarre mix...Pasha Malla is an impressive young voice that gives one hope for a future of new Canadian writing talent... (Globe and Mail 2008-06-01)

...devoted to the timeless narrative rewards of the fickle human heart...honest and confident stories...the bittersweet mixture of loss and humour bubble through. (Globe and Mail 2008-05-01)

...Pasha Malla's debut collection signals the arrival of a talented newcomer to Canadian fiction. (Montreal Gazette 2008-06-01)

...Pasha Malla's intriguing first short-fiction collection...reveal[s] his tenacious skill...Sophisticated and unpretentious...each story of The Withdrawal Method has been carefully layered to affect the reader in a similarly subtle and profound way, making a lasting impression with its integrity and narrative skill. (Quill & Quire 2008-05-01)

...display[s] an engaging combination of imagination and emotion....splendidly creative....an absolute gem....Life is anything but ordinary in the hands of this gifted writer. (Vancouver Sun 2008-07-08)

[F]or my money one of the best young writers in Canada [is] Pasha Malla. (Torontoist.com 2008-05-01)

Malla's style is sharp and funny...Malla manages to make us chuckle at the absurdity of life...the collection is amusing and affecting, an accomplished first book by a writer to watch. (NOW Magazine 2008-05-01)

Pasha Malla's remarkable debut collection The Withdrawal Method is a sign (or warning) of things to come. (The Coast 2008-05-01)

These stories are weird and wild and wonderful. Funny, too. Pasha Malla has a deft touch. (David Bergen 2008-05-01)

...expertly handled...disturbingly credible...[Pasha Malla] never falters with various children's points of view, and his development of these uncontrived plots is seamless...These are strong stories that confront complex, irresolvable moral problems. Definitely worth reading. (matrix 2008-07-08)

A polished, confident storyteller...An invigorating mix of seriousness, humour, and candour. (Toronto Star 2008-06-01)

Dazzling debut...written in a language that is fresh and imbued with great feeling. (Globe and Mail 2008-06-01)

Like David Foster Wallace and Rick Moody, Malla often asks painful questions, revealing equally painful truths. (Quill & Quire 2008-06-01)

Malla's technical skills are...reminiscent of Munro...His handling of society's unfortunates is very Barbara Gowdy...Buy The Withdrawal Method. (Vue Weekly 2008-06-01)

About the Author

Pasha Malla’s first novel, People Park, was shortlisted for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award and was selected as an Amazon.ca Best Book. His first collection of short stories, The Withdrawal Method, a Globe and Mail and National Post book of the year, won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and the Trillium Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize and longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. He is the winner of an Arthur Ellis Award for crime fiction, two National Magazine Awards, and has twice had stories included in the Journey Prize anthology. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable March 31 2011
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed this collection, although I found it a bit uneven and I really think it's a stretch to compare it to Lorrie Moore (but I love Lorrie Moore in a sort of unnatural unlimited almost-creepy way, so...). A few of the stories seem unnaturally truncated, a sort of "if I end it right now it will seem daring and post-modern in a resisting-closure sort of way" which I just found frustrating. I love the Niagara Falls story -- actually as the collection went on the stories got better. There's a lot of quirky-funny-sad in the stories -- I look forward to seeing this author's voice progress and mature.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By J. Tobin Garrett TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Books of short stories are hard to review, because inevitably there are those packed within the covers that don't measure up compared to other stories. Unlike a novel, which stands by itself, each story in a collection stands in reference to each other. The good short story collections are ones where an author chooses stories that are similar enough in style to create a cohesive feel to the book, but different enough from each other so as to keep things interesting. Why read a book of short stories that are basically the same thing over and over again?

Malla's stories span all different kinds of topics, time periods, and styles. From the quirky postmodern "The Slough" to the historical "The Love Life of the Automaton Turk" to the creepy "Long Short Short Long". However, the themes of loss, failed relationships, and isolation (whether from society, or from specific people) thread their way through the collection to tie all these stories together. There are a few real gems in this collection, but there are also some that didn't measure up, and I could have lived without. I think of the story "Dizzy When You Look Down In", which never seemed to find its way, just sort of meandered and then ended.

The stories left me mostly feeling sad, with a kind of stifling bitterness at times. Not towards the stories, but a feeling generated by the stories. There is a lot of pain in these pages, especially the kind of pain one gets from relationships that have turned sour, or were always sour to begin with. There were a few parts that hit a bit close to home for me, but I welcome those moments when reading, even if they dredge up some unhappy emotions. But there is also a lot of humour, so things never get too heavy. The kind of ironic, sarcastic, dry humour found within the pages of McSweeney's (which Malla has appeared in, not surprisingly).

This is a collection worthy of reading, and I will definitely be reading Malla's novel when it is published.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lovely story collection May 8 2009
By Abeer Y. Hoque - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I love Pasha Malla. I thought maybe his short story collection would be on the flippant side, and not just because of its (IMHO not very apt) title, but more because of his hilarious silly punts on McSweeneys.com. But no. The stories are mostly sad, a little bit funny, sometimes surreal, invested in the loss and manifest of what I call Americana but in this case should call Canadiana since most of the stories are set in Canadia, and this last quite unexpected quality: beautifully written.

None of the stories is like the others, and I was continually amazed at how inside everyone's heads Pasha gets. Middle aged blue collar white dude? Check. Estranged adolescent daughter? Check. Renaissance courtier? Check. And he has to be a basketball nut and have spent some time in or thinking about hospitals. My only critique was that a couple of the stories have abrupt transitions, like they were written in parts, or from different perspectives and then mushed together ("The Slough" and the Automaton Turk one are two where I felt this).

My favourite story was "The Past Composed" and I don't know why exactly. There was something clean and compelling about it, despite nothing drastic happening (no amputation, no bull in a china store, no chimp swallowing snake, no coma inducing accident).

Naturally I didn't love all the stories, but I loved the writing throughout. Every story had a few sentences or phrases that were flat out gorgeous, bits of description, setting, detail (I wish I had written some quotes down). (It was also the book that made me realise that short stories are great for subway rides.) This is Pasha's first book and I'm much looking forward to his next.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it! Dec 7 2013
By verónica - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this is by far one of my favorite books. It's delicate and minimal. Each story leaves you with really strong feeling for days -sadness, nostalgia, loneliness-. Quite an experience.
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